Judicial dispute affects bunker supply at the Port of Santos

26/12/2017 - 6:31 | Author: Proinde

The supply of bunkers to vessels is a monopoly of the state-owned oil giant Petrobras. The delivery of bunkers to the vessels at the Port of Santos used to be made by Petrobras’ contractors Navemestra.

Last August, following a bidding process, Petrobras chose other contractors, SC Transportes, to deliver the bunkers; however, as the new contractors began to mobilize equipment to start working last week, a court injunction granted at the request of Navemestra has suspended the hiring of SC Transportes. Navemestra allegedly argued that the competing contractors were not properly licensed by the competent authorities.

The executive director of the Union of Shipping agents in the State of São Paulo (SINDAMAR), Mr José Roque, was quoted as saying that the dispute is worrying as Petrobras has been selling smaller quantities of fuels because the barges used to carry the bunkers from Petrobras/Transpetro’s tankage to the ships have a smaller carrying capacity. “This situation is creating insecurity for shipowners and agents and may affect the turnaround of the ships, due to delays and reduction of the quantity of fuel supplied, compared to the quantity that is provided today” Mr Roque has told local newspaper A Tribuna. He is concerned that vessels may have to leave the port with insufficient amounts of bunkers on board to complete the voyage to abroad and added that “ocean-going vessels do not have an option since they go straight overseas and necessarily have to be supplied in Santos, otherwise they do not reach the destination”.

None of the companies involved in the dispute has made any public announcement about the consequences of the court order and the impacts it will cause to the supply of bunkers in the Brazilian largest port are yet to be measured.

UPDATE 29-12-2017:

The State Court of Appeals has suspended the effects of the court injunction obtained by Navemestra; so, the supply of bunkers at Santos is currently reinstated. However, because the decision may still be appealed, the local shipping community is still concerned that the situation may be reversed.

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